Washington, DC — Just days after People For the American Way filed suit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Justice Department to force the agencies to release documents about reported actions they have taken to remove protections from LGBTQ people, HuffPost reported on a leaked memo showing that HUD plans to remove anti-discrimination language from its mission statement.
In response to yesterday's news, People For the American Way's Diallo Brooks, Senior Director of Outreach and Public Engagement, issued the following statement:
"The news about Ben Carson's plan to strip from its mission statement HUD's objective to help build communities that are 'inclusive' and 'free from discrimination' contradicts our nation's purpose in creating the department and passing fair housing laws. The 1968 Fair Housing Act specifically charged the HUD secretary with administering the law, created a new assistant secretary position devoted to fair housing, and directed HUD to administer all its programs in a manner "affirmatively to further" fair housing and non-discrimination. This proposed change flies in the face of these mandates.
"This revelation also provides yet more evidence that Trump administration HUD officials are hiding discriminatory policy changes from the public. Earlier this week, PFAW filed suit against HUD concerning its removal of important programs helping LGBTQ homeless people from HUD's website after months of waiting for an answer to our FOIA requests for documents without receiving any agency decision explaining who ordered the removal, why, and what else was covered.
"Today, the agency again releases no information about an important planned change, and only a leak from an unknown source provides the American people with any information about who is ordering this change and why.
"We call on HUD to immediately release the complete leaked memo, to cancel plans to make this damaging change to its mission statement, and to release the information we have now had to ask for in court concerning efforts to write LGBTQ people out of federal agency programs and activities."
PFAW's Right Wing Watch is filing a FOIA request today to make public a copy of the leaked memo.
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.